Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as well as subsurface energy storage in the form of hydrogen are measures to lower carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Large-scale implementation is underway, especially for CCS, and first hydrogen storage projects have been announced recently.
With most CCS projects being planned for offshore locations, public acceptance is less of a determining factor than it used to be 10-20 years ago, where discussions were rather for onshore locations. CO2 leakage has always been a risk highlighted in the public debate, while no or minimal leakage has been reported for current CCS projects worldwide. However, as scientific community, we need to realistically highlight the risk of leakage across sealing units for any fluids stored in the subsurface to inform various stakeholders like regulators, the public and of course also operating companies.
Caprock leakage needs to be studied across various length and time scales, considering the undisturbed matrix as well as fracture networks and faults; we need to consider advective and diffusive flow and transport and incorporate mineral alterations, potentially leading to changes in hydraulic or mechanical properties.
This talk will highlight the current state of research, advancements and future research required for a realistic evaluation of caprock leakage. It will be based on past research related to matrix transport as well as current research focusing on single and multiphase flow along faults and fractures.